A 42-year-old part-time teacher and football coach at George Washington Preparatory High School in Los Angeles has been arrested and charged with using children to produce sexually explicit videos, police said Monday.
Los Angeles police arrested Rodney Anderson--known as a “buddy” and jokester to his students--at the principal’s office May 18, said Det. M. Guevara of the LAPD’s Sexually Exploited Child Unit.
Guevara said police seized 38 different camcorder videotapes of what appear to be “anywhere from five to seven juveniles,” both boys and girls, engaged in sex acts in the living room of the teacher’s Western Avenue home.
Anderson was charged with three felony counts of “using a minor for sexual acts,” police said. He was arraigned on the charges June 4. A preliminary hearing on the case is scheduled for June 19, police said.
Anderson had been a district employee since December 1995, officials said. Reached by telephone at his South Los Angeles apartment, Anderson denied the charges.
“That’s definitely unfair and that’s not the case,” he said of the allegations against him, declining further comment until he contacted his attorney.
Guevara said police released details of the case Monday because they were seeking the help of the public in identifying the young people on the tape.
Washington High officials declined comment. Shel Erlich, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Unified School District, said Anderson was a long-term substitute teacher and taught in special education classes at the school. He was fired the day after his arrest, Erlich said.
Washington is known as a demanding school with high academic standards and a rigid dress code. Many students at the South Los Angeles campus said they learned of the arrest only after reporters and television crews descended on the school Monday afternoon.
“I was shocked,” said Levy Lewis, 16. “I don’t think that’s possible. It doesn’t sound like him. He’s a good person. . . . I don’t think this is something he would be involved in.”
Students said Anderson was known as a friendly man who sometimes offered to give them rides home after school.
“It’s pretty scary,” said Claudia Hernandez, 17. “This school is so strict. I never thought someone like that could be here. Anywhere else but not here.”
Guevara said police began investigating the case after a videotape was turned over to the Culver City Police Department “by someone who wished to remain anonymous.” The seized videotapes showed individuals engaged in sex acts with each other and Anderson, Guevara said.
Culver City police handed the tapes over to the LAPD because Anderson is a Los Angeles resident.
Guevara said that besides Anderson, only one of the people on the tapes had been identified. That youth, a male, was 16 at the time the video was shot, police said. He was not a Washington High student.
Police said there was not yet any indication that any of the alleged victims were Washington High students. “We believe they are juveniles,” Guevara said of the people on the tape. “It appears several of them are under the age of 18.”
Some Washington High students said they were angry that school and district officials had kept the news of Anderson’s arrest from them for almost a month.
“I feel we have the right to know,” said Kurtis Walter, who played on a junior varsity team that Anderson coached. “I feel kind of violated now. He was supposed to be my mentor.”
Terese Paye, 15, was also critical of school officials. “They should have told us about this earlier. Now that I know, I’ll be more careful around people.”